A community transformed by thriving families in sustainable homes.
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Did you catch us on the Lori Moore Show?

In October, Development Director Kristina Nguyen again visits with Lori Moore, this time to go into more depth about our programs and services. Watch this video now.

In September, Development Director Kristina Nguyen and Boatyard Co-Owner Brian Steele had a chance to talk with Lori Moore about Furnace Fest and our partnership. Watch the video now.

Community Homeworks is Growing!

We’re very proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish with a small team over the last few years, but it is time to build up our capacity to keep responding to the needs in our community. We’ve just posted three new positions to expand our construction department:

Construction Manager: this new full-time position will manage, oversee, and evaluate the Critical Home Repair and Whole House Weatherization Programs for up to 200 families per year.

HVAC Service Technician: full-time position to assist in performing heating and water heater repairs as well as new installations of energy efficient heating systems.

Weatherization Field Technician: full-time position to assist in performing whole house weatherization, including air sealing, insulating, mechanical work, whole house testing, and other duties.

You can download full job postings from the links above – we are seeking qualified candidates who are committed to making a difference in Kalamazoo.

 

Little Library Build Day at Community Homeworks

Little Library Build Day at Community Homeworks
Little Library Build 4-11-15 (2)

With several stations set up for building, one station for power tools and one for a table saw to be used by trained experts only, there was room for everyone to get to work.

Community Homeworks was happy to host a four hour building workshop on Saturday, April 11, as part of the Little Lending Libraries in Vine project. By the end of the day, teams from Kalamazoo Collective Housing, Kalamazoo College, Oak Street Garden and Community Homeworks had built beautiful Little Library boxes ready to enhance their neighborhoods. Special thanks go to Hannah Knoll for organizing the event and to Little Library expert Tammy Wilson, KNHS construction supervisor Matt Milcarek, and Community Homeworks Executive Director Shaun Wright for providing technical supervision and expertise.

Bounlad Jones, a future Kalamazoo Valley Habitat for Humanity homeowner and a regular participant in Community Homeworks Education Workshops, helped design and build a Little Library that will go in front of her new home.   With the help of Tammy, Matt and Shaun, her Little Library evolved into something that is more “up-to-code” than any other Little Library we’ve seen. Complete with soffiting, asphalt shingles and full caulking, Bounlad’s Little Library is sure to keep her neighborhood books dry, and the brick-look exterior will look great with her new brick home!

Little Library Build Day 4-11-15 (5)

Matt and Tammy talk about the next step toward reaching Bounlad’s vision.

 

Little Library Build Day 4-11-15 (8)

Bounlad measuring shingles for her little roof.

Boundlad's Box (5)

Bounlad’s constructed box; we can’t wait to see her finishing touches!

 

Kalamazoo Community Foundation Grant Support for Whole-House Weatherization!

We are proud to be part of the Kalamazoo Community Foundation’s fourth quarter grant round – we are already putting this $60,000 grant to work. We have already completed four weatherization projects for low-income families in our current program year and have another 21 families with applications in process.

Are you wondering what it means to weatherize a home?
 IMG_20140819_162454It’s partly mechanical – installing new 95% efficient furnaces and water heaters certainly reduces energy usage and also reduces the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. Proper attic insulation dramatically reduces heat loss, saving money and energy. Air sealing, not just doors and windows but rim joists and other gaps, eliminates drafts and further reduces heat loss.6737403523_5c75b3db20_o

IMG_20140819_162507Done properly, weatherization typically cuts energy usage and utility costs by 30 to 50% – that’s a big relief on a winter season gas and electric bill – and it produces safer air quality, more comfort and less stress for struggling family.

For more information about this grant cycle and our fellow grantee organizations, check out the great coverage in the Kalamazoo Gazette and on the Lorrie Moore Show.

 

 

Happy Holidays from Community Homeworks!

Our office will be closed beginning Wednesday, 12/24/14. We will reopen on Monday, January 5. 2015.

We will not be providing any services during the closure. If you have a furnace issue, please call our office at 269-998-3275 and listen to the message for instructions.

We wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!11216236844_61e33541de_z

Furnace Program Update – Our Crew Has Been Busy!

When we announced the extra funding we had for high-efficiency furnace upgrades back in October, our goal was to install 20 new furnaces by December 15. We are thrilled to report that our technicians blew right past that goal – here’s the scorecard:IMG_1177

  • 27 new furnaces installed
  • 2 high-efficiency furnaces repaired
  • 12 new water heaters installed
  • 4 whole-house weatherizations completed
  • 45 additional critical repairs

Wow! This is what our warehouse looks like right now, filled with old, inefficient and broken furnaces. We are really proud of the hard work our technicians have put in over the last 8 weeks and happy that all these Kalamazoo families can experience warmth this holiday season.

Real Change Happens When We Work Together

We’re happy to share a great example of how our collaborative partnership with Kalamazoo Valley Habitat for Humanity is making a real difference – thank you to KVHH for shining a light on this story in their December 2014 newsletter:

Cheryl D.’s Eastside home had suffered some major damage due to an ice dam caused by heat leaking through the roof. Habitat’s Construction Manager, Tom Tishler, referred Cheryl to us.

12641243174_e30e498862_zCommunity Homeworks, Habitat, and Consumers Energy were working on a pilot program to do weatherization projects in partnership with low-income homeowners,” Tishler said. “The timing was perfect.”

Community Homeworks completed the weatherization of Cheryl’s home with grant funding from Consumers Energy. Community Homeworks installed a new furnace and water heater and also insulated the attic and caulked gaps around windows and doors. Habitat followed and repaired damage caused by the ice dam….Cheryl is very pleased with Community Homeworks’ and Habitat’s work.

“I am very happy with the quality of the work they did on my house,” Cheryl said. When the work was done, Tom did a walk through with me and explained everything that was done in detail and answered all my questions. I am anxious to see how the repairs will affect my Consumers bills this winter.”

We are glad we could help and glad to have such great community partners!

You can support Community Homeworks with your holiday shopping!

It’s the time of year when we may feel especially grateful and generous, but there are so many things to keep track of! One easy way to send some support to Community Homeworks is to use Amazon Smile to shop for gifts and all your holiday needs – 0.5% of every eligible purchase will come back to Community Homeworks. It’s easy!

Community Homeworks

Community Homeworks in the News!

We’ve been getting some attention recently – here’s a round-up of recent features:

New Education & Volunteer Coordinator Annie Sprague on Kzoo Connect.

Our most recent Weatherization workshop was featured on Channel 3:

And WWMT brought a lot of attention to our current Furnace program – we had a waiting list of applicants in only 2 days!

UPDATE: $50,000 now available for High Efficiency Furnace Upgrades

UPDATE (11/19/14) – We’ve completed 10 furnace installations so far, with 15 more planned by mid-December. Our field crew has been busy!

For the second year in a row, Community Homeworks has secured funding to install high efficiency natural gas furnaces for 20 low-income homeowners in Kalamazoo County.  The program runs until December 12, 2014.

A high efficiency furnace will reduce energy bills by at least 15% and up to 50% in some cases.

Participants must meet all the following eligibility criteria:

  • Own and live in a home in Kalamazoo County (home must be either owned or under mortgage) – other restrictions may apply.
  • Existing heating systems must be compatible with the new systems (natural gas, forced air system with ductwork) Contact us for details.
  • TOTAL household income below 200% of the federally defined poverty level as defined below:

Weatherization Income Limits

  • Pay a $100.00 copayment at time of application.
  • Attend six (6) free education workshops (2 hours each) at Community Homeworks.

Applications will be available at 9:00 a.m., Monday, October 20, at the Community Homeworks office at 810 Bryant Street, Kalamazoo, MI 49001. Applications must be complete when submitted in order to be considered.  Accepted applications will be processed on a first come, first served basis.

 Documentation Required: 

  • Completed application
  • Proof of income
  • Copy of the deed to your home
  • Most recent copy of your Consumers Energy bill
  • A check for the required copayment. If an application is not accepted, the check will be returned.

Upon receiving eligible applications, Community Homeworks will schedule an in-home assessment of your current furnace, followed by a scheduled installation date.  All work is done by Community Homeworks’ qualified mechanical technicians. All furnace installations must be completed no later than December 12, 2014.